tv American History TV CSPAN September 4, 2014 3:50pm-4:41pm EDT
ma'am? >> who put the pool in? >> the pool was put in for president roosevelt, march of dimes. and it was in what was still, if you can believe, a laundry. it had always been that west wing that west wing that connects to the big building. that had been a laundry since the beginning and wine cellar and so president roosevelt, there were contributions great and small, schoolchildren, and they built -- it was a tank. it wasn't more like an exercise tank. beautiful room. had an arched ceiling. it is now the press briefing room. president nixon changed it to that and president ford had a backyard pool built behind the west wing. and i must add that it is very interesting recently that the place was changed. the briefing room. and a group of us from the association went down and you can see traces of jefferson's wing there and you can see
before the nixon improvements, you can see a portion of his -- lydia can tell you better than me. the wine cellar, semicircular, is still down there. the mike, oh, okay. traces of jefferson's wine cellar and after the war of 1812, when the house was rebuilt, where the west wing big building is now was a stable. it is under the dining room windows, wasn't a very clear decision. and it was paved all in there, and you can -- the big arch is still there, just filled in where the horses were admitted. so it is -- the west wing is a working wing and it receives plenty of attention, but it does have a job to do. yes. >> i would like to know when was electricity put in the white house so that an elevator could
be used by president roosevelt or if, for some reason, they didn't have a back up, were there ramps or anything of that sort to be used? >> the first elevator, which was a counterweight elevator, not electrical, was ordered by president garfield and put in later by -- put into operation by arthur. it was near the elevator now, a little back hallway, you read about lincoln going down the back stairs, this was next to it. it was there. and mckimm put a fancy one in, you used to see at the smithsonian. i haven't noticed lately, but it is there. and now there is a modern elevator now in the house. which is -- i would say the next one was put in by mckimm, 1902. and he used timbers for the carriage for -- from old north church in boston. they were restoring that so he popped up a few timbers and made
panelling for the elevator there in the white house. >> -- is still there, that jack kennedy -- >> it was in the little dining room, i'm sorry. i will. in the little dining room upstairs, the president's dining room, that paper was put up. happily it is on linen because it is not popular with all presidents. mrs. gerald ford didn't like it and so she had it pulled down. miss johnson never liked it. it is still in the dining room. it is back in the dining room. white house has to change. excuse me, here is our author friends. >> one of the last time i was touring the white house, one of the things that is really fun effect about it is in the red room, above the joining doorway is the portrait of dolly madison. and we can see when we see on television the cross hall, but those interior are doors, when
they're all open, doesn't that painting still look at the george washington painting? like, in the east room. don't -- can't you see visually from dolly's point of view above that door frame all the way into the east room? >> i don't know. >> i just wondered if it was still done that way. i understood that hillary clinton had that picture put there so that dolly could still keep her eye on george washington. >> doesn't sound much like mrs. clinton, but lydia, is that true? lydia, from the office. lydia says it is true. i always thought it was hung too high for an important picture. one more -- >> there are some beautiful drawings of the benjamin, henry latrobe furniture that was burned up. why has the white house never reproduced that? and could you comment a little bit about the appropriations for the monroes to furnish the white
house and how congress specified that they were ever practicable by american furniture. >> yes. okay. two questions. one, the world behind is not so happy with orange seats anymore. so they didn't want to rebuild the latrobe stuff. it is hard. it is wicker seats and it is not -- would not be comfortable for what has to happen there. in those days you didn't have a lot of chairs, you had stools. and women would sit on the stools and men would stand behind them and the fire in front of them. and that doesn't really happen anymore. you would have a ride, probably, but anyway, as for the other one was -- about the monroe thing -- monroe naturally wanted french furniture. he was in the diplomatic service there and he and his wife acquired beautiful furniture that you can see at the museum in fredericksburg, one of our people.
and he had that and so he ordered it from paris and happened to be a time that napoleon was defeated. napoleon's government had ordered quantities of courtly furniture for his generals and all, each general allowed 400,000, something like that to decorate a resident. anyway, these -- apparently the cabinetmakers were pretty hungry. while they imply in the letter it is to monroe, describing it that it is made to order and new, it is clear it was already made. and its goal for which he specified he didn't want, and he got it, and so all of these trappings of the napoleonic period late napoleon period came to the white house. and dr. nell alexander, the records are all there. it was stunning and it was a chandelier which must be very much like what is in the blue room today, an old owen. and there is a document in 1840
where the visitor goes there and says, i stood beneath the chandelier that belonged to napoleon. so the legend of the french furniture stuck and some of it has been brought back. some has been reproduced. and it's comfortable. dol dolly's painted stuff wouldn't have done. dr. kissinger would not have been comfortable. thank you. thank you. >> our long journey is almost at an end, at least as far as the intellectual component of the symposium and shortly after we finish here, we'll go over for our reception at the cater house and historic parlors. our last speakers are andrew burstein, who is the charles professor of history at louisiana state university, and he's the author of the books
"the inner jefferson," "jefferson's secrets," "lincoln dreamt he died," history of the american dream, and he's also co-author with nancy isenberg, our second speaker, will be co-presenting, of "madison and jefferson." and andrew asked me it tell you about his new book that is coming out on jefferson's birthday next year, april 13th, 2015 called democracy's muse, how thomas jefferson became an fdr liberal. description of the white house historian. but anyway, and with him is nancy isenberg, who is also distinguished professor at louisiana state university. she's the author of two prize winning books. sex and citizenship and ant b l antebellum america and the co-author of "madison and jefferson." please welcome our speakers. [ applause ]
>> there we go. i like to give a shoutout to a war vet, not the war of 1812, number 12235370, thank you for your service, dad. you -- [ applause ] you may wonder why it is that nancy and i got to be the closing act at this festival. as wonderful a job as the white house historical association and u.s. capital society and
montpelier have done, they were unable to get jimmy hendricks to perform the star-spangled banner. i'm glad you remember woodstock. by going last, we get to put an end to this nasty war. and to start picking up the pieces. which is to say we get to talk about historic memory. the nature of historic memory. we get to suggest new ways for the public to contend with madison's presidency. as well as his larger legacy. what tradition tells us is the true assessment of historical knowledge. it is often a little more than a consensus of the moment, of a particular moment in history. and it is carried forth for the purposes of commemorative ritual. so a consensus, a mere consensus is not and should not be the final word on history.
in the year 1814, what did that consensus look like? in part, it meant giving this city what was then known as washington city a place in the poetry of nationhood. in -- the star-spangled banner did not resonate in 1814 obviously the way it does now. instead, there was an ode called the fradiniad. why the frodoniad? from o it was offered by samuel latham mitchell to be a better name for this country than the united states of america. and in some circles it caught
on, frodonia, new york, perched on lake erie which we know is a central place in the war of 1812. there is frodonia, kentucky, pennsylvania, all growing out of this early -- early 19th century suggestion. and, of course, groucho marx gave us frodonia in the 1933 film duck soup, where he was, i don't know elected or unelected leader of that great nation. but getting back to the epic poet of 1814, of the frodoniad, he opened one canto with lofty praise of washington city and the man after whom it was named. you'll recognize the geography
of the heaven on earth right away. where the potomac glides over crystal sands to wed the sea columbia stands, freedom's defender when he dwelt on earth, planned and surveyed and brought it into birth, and to exalt its character to fame generous bequeathed it his immortal name. some lines later, the fourth president's name was joined to that of the first. the honored place of washington was filled by madison in diplomacy skilled. a seat far more exalted than a throne, or ever yet too hauty monarchs known. the patriotic consensus went like this. the office of the presidency all by itself was a testament to the nobility of the american political experiment. and madison had already proved himself by 1814 as both as great
and as a appropriately humble as the first of men, george washington. so the unfortunate tendency is to make history simple. the whole idea of a political faith is that it is supposed to eliminate confusion by suggesting pictures to the mind that are frozen in time, somehow pure, cleaner, than they really were. the world had known many a hauty monarch, america's distinctive characteristics was its nonhereditary system of governance. president's republican character, that was our national morality. many people have a picture in mind of washington crossing the delaware in 1776, in december. a romantic figure, stern, standing erect, looking forward
into the future. the whole world sat on his patriarchal shoulders. well, we don't have to know what actually happened on that icy river in 1776 to know it didn't look like the painting. it is for similar reasons of refashioned memory that americans nowadays only think of james madison as the father of the constitution. the possessor of a superior intellect to be sure, but in other respects, lacking the charisma of those whose names are associated with the designation age of, age of washington, age of jefferson, age of jackson, actually nancy and i will tell you that the early 19th century was really the age of albert galatin. you'll see.
madison should not be seen as one dimensional. he was a complex politician, and as nancy and i demonstrate in our book madison and jefferson and see whose name comes first in the title, the 24 year long virginia dynasty from jefferson through monroe underscores the fact of politics that subsequent generations in their embellishment of a prophetic, progressive narrative of american history don't want to consider. and that's the real fragility of the union. from 1789 to at least 1814, the more perfect union of the preamble of the constitution was understood for what it was. wishful thinking. virginians were always fighting for virginia.
everyone identified with his or her state, much more strongly than they do today. save perhaps for texas. state identification outpaced the nationalist impulse. madison knew this. he got beyond it. which made him exceptional for a southerner. he lived many years in philadelphia, and as president cultivated the competent pennsylvanians and made them his closest advisers, where as his political alter ego, thomas jefferson was more comfortable surrounding himself and communicating with fellow virginians. of course, both the third and fourth presidents treated their new york vice president as window dress iing, handing out crumbs of muted power to the
vice president. so as to affect an imaginary balance between the sections. yet despite whatever largess he was capable of, madison too kept his pulse on virginia state politics, weary about departing from that world view. how will this play in virginia, he was repeatedly obliged to ask himself. the virginians almost obsessive defensiveness and refusing to share the presidency with any others speaks to the certain self-consciousness of the beatness of virginia that dates back to the 1609 charter when king james i gave the colony an expansive backyard extending to the mississippi river and to such promising lands as kentucky and ohio and indiana. as a virginian, madison was perfectly part of the ploy in 1812 by which the u.s. would
annex canada and cuba and nancy will speak more to this point. madison was in no way reticent, never mind he was 5'4" and built on a narrow frame and unmarshall in his bearing. he was in no way reticent when he came to war-making. he was secretary of state in the driver's seat during the negotiations over with france, over the louisiana purchase. the constitution may not have stipulated precisely how lands might be acquired from european colonial powers. but in the face of reality, it was done. okay, madison was not outwardly heroic. no commissioned painting of him presents vigorous forward sharp eyed talent. his wife doted on him because he
invited it. he thought of himself as a man of infirmities. little madison, as he was widely known and little gemmy as his detractors often called him was a small narrowly formed man, but careful examination of all he did over decades brings out abundant evidence that contradicts the standard measure of the man. madison, we have discovered, was a man for all seasons and those who knew him best knew that they greatly enjoyed his raunchy sense of humor. he never practiced law. no one ever thinks about that. to his mind, the philadelphia convention of 1787 from which his modern fame springs, was not what he argued for.
it wasn't the miracle that everyone claims because he wasn't satisfied. his preference had been for a bicameral legislature where virginia was accorded as the largest and most popular state was accorded the greatest number of representatives in both houses of congress. so the senate we have today was not actually subverted madison's design. but fortunately for his presidency, he did get a central government that could urgently command the economy, and the military in war time. as i suggested at the outset, national symbols rarely reflect the flow of historical reality. mostly they reflect the comfortable reading of a fixed point in time. who madison was in 1787 as a centralizer was not precisely who he was just five years later in 1792 when he led the fight against what he saw as alexander
hamilton's crony capitalist national bank. yet that madison of 1792 bears faint resemblance to president madison in 1814 when he found himself leaning on bankers to avoid running out of money needed to continue the war. as nancy and i argue in the book and as john stag has spelled out here, madison's war time presidency was not as undistinguished as the general understanding would have it. there are good reasons why he ended his second term more popular than ever before in his political life. >> when i first heard about this symposium, i'll admit i was worried. the burning of washington, scary. better not give the tea party any ideas. but as andy emphasized, it is time to mend the commonly held
views about james madison. when we think about the will of the people, we have to realize that they knew that was rhetorical at the time it was drafted. it was not as if it was the embodiment of everything they stood for. it sounded good on paper. madison told his piers at the constitutional convention he would not couldnntenance not la made by the brightest people in the land and he was thinking of virginia. to give needed guidance to those less talented who sat in the state legislatures, and occasionally made in his word mischief, he thought of them as kind of undisciplined children that needed to be reprimanded. he had wanted the u.s. senate to be compromised of elite men who would wield their absolute negative or are veto over not just congressional legislation, but state legislation when it was deemed improper or ill
conceived. he had also hoped for a coalition of southern states and large northern states which never materialized. this is one of the things we have to realize. madison was actually really upset at the end of the constitutional convention. he felt that he had lost -- >> can't hear you. >> he felt he lost most of the major issues. he kind of re-adjusted, but he was not a happy man at the end. and we have to remember that and understand that. confident in this election of his friend and confident george washington as the first president, madison remained in the forefront of political debate and ardent supporter of a strong federal system. as leader of the house of representatives in 1799, he spoke as an enlightened member of the elite on behalf of the people as he construed them. that is he was a representative acting in the interests of the less politically aware. when it came to what he knew affected them most, public and
private debt management, and the potential injustices attending legislation that sacrificed the welfare of the minority to the majority. this is one of the key points where jefferson and madison never agreed. jefferson believed in the will of the majority. madison did not. and this is also where he differed from hamilton. this is sort of ironic. hamilton was much more comfortable with inherited power, where madison wanted to create a system that could restrain excessive passions among people. and what is ironic about that is that madison came from a well established genealogy and pedigree, established family in virginia, which as we know hamilton did not, who was illegitimate by birth. in our book, what we try to look at are the personal motives and not just the abstract thinking when it comes to madison. and you can begin to see this if you pay close attention to what he says and don't just relate it
to political thinkers from europe. he had very specific individuals in mind when he conceived the political principle. and the best example of that is that when he raised the specter of a dangerous demagogue, he actually wasn't thinking of hamilton, he was thinking of virginia's effusive patrick henry in mind because he had watched him manipulate the house of representatives with his rhetorical skill. when he thought of firm and yet reasonable leadership, he had washington in mind. and when he reached for symbolic embodiment of the republican style, it would have not been one of the democratic republican clubs that sprang up in the mid-1790s even though hamiltonian federalists saw them as having been inspired by madison. they went so far to nickname club members the mads.
basically implying that they're not quite stable upstairs. no, madison would have found a more appealing symbol of the republican style and the national gazette. the newspaper that madison helped found in 1791. that was for madison a prime source of educated public opinion. not what we get today. not polls. educated public opinion. he wrote public opinion sets bounds to every government. here we get this theme that is pretty consistent with madison, setting boundaries. this is a fundamental principle. it meant restraining, disciplining excesses. this is what madison was committed to. unlike his friend thomas jefferson, madison never had complete faith in majority rule or anything close to it. in a mob, ordinarily decent individuals were capable of abandoning their own reason and joining in the group's enthusiasm. this is what madison wrote to
jefferson, which was the operative term for radical sentiment or religious ecstasy that implied a loss of individual conscience. this was central to madison's thinking, protecting the individual conscience. so government had to serve not only to protect minorities but another key idea for him was that governor had -- government had to serve as a neutral arbiter between competing interests. let me repeat that, because it is another key theme to madison. government had to be a neutral arbiter between competing interests so he knew there was going to be tension. he knew there would be conflict. and this is central to the american experience, not union or unity, conflict. it was the new institution proposed by hamilton, the national bank, which led madison more in the direction of a strict construction of the constitution. under the bank's aegis, emerging
government debt, the united states -- was granted a constitutional power to -- madison was not being forth coming by bringing up this argument in the constitutional debates. he had favor chartering a national university but changed. he didn't get what he want, hamilton got his back. madison's partisan credentials only enlarged as the trying decade of the 1790s war on. and in fact one of the things we discovered is that the party was first identified more with madison than jefferson because he was the active member in congress and was much more out in the open. if we look at first two organized political parties, federalists and democratic republican and as they took shape, this is also a period where we see some of the most interesting writings by madison as a legislature. he developed strong positions and wrote pieces such as a candid state of parties, who were the best keepers of the people's liberty. while jefferson had to confine his complaints to private correspondents, madison went public, opposing hamilton in news print. madison's embrace of partisan newspapers helped lay a foundation for organized
political parties. yet he metaphorical eggs in one basket. he deeply distrusted speculators, which was a very wise position to be now and then. was a bad thing. parties therefore also had to be restrained. and if we look closely at his response to the alien and decision act of 1798 where the federalists were trying to squelch dissent, madison did not follow jefferson down the road to nullification. they both responded, they secretly fed resolutions to state legislatures of kentucky and virginia. in madison's version, i mean, in jefferson's version, he held out the prospect of a state nullifying a law of congress it objected to. now madison very consciously, very carefully avoided that word.
choosing interpose instead, a word that meant to mediate, to act between two parties. he did not want to annul a power of the federal government, he wanted to bring the issue before the public and broaden the range of debate by including political voices from the state government. now, if we fast-forward to madison's presidency, we see the political environment is very different. the federalist party by that time and alexander hamilton as we're well aware is no longer there, thanks to aaron berr, only had a minority status in the government. as president jefferson's secretary of state, madison had strongly supported an embargo of overseas trade, commercial retaliation for british degradations on the high seas. it was madison who constructed the embargo. that really has madison's hands all over it. americans lost honor, was part of the diplomatic stalemate that madison inherited, as well as the itch to subvert british and
canada was another. now, if we look at canada, and one of the things we argue is that the war of 1812 is two wars if not more in terms of the agendas it takes on. the project of taking canada really is a filibuster masquerading as a national war. what we tend to forget about our history is that filibustering was the national past time in the 19th century. there are numerous attempts to, you know, engage in either sparking revolution, in canada, in latin america, this was not a sort of one time event. it defined america because america in the 19th century was about getting their hands on land. as much land as possible. it is the most important principle of the 19th century. think about texas. texas independence, it was not a revolution of independence. it had outside americans as private armies that went into texas to help facilitate what
happened there. in the war of 1812, before the war begins, jefferson and james monroe are dreaming of this potential war as leading to the annexation of cuba and canada. this is kind of the fantasy of the ever expanding continent without thinking about the real realities of what it takes it deal with taking this land or conquering this land. but this was what they were very much invested in. unfortunately, for are mr. madison, he wasn't going to get canada, wasn't going to get cuba, he had to settle for baton rouge. where i happen to live right now. so it is a good thing. this baton rouge, if you don't know, came into the united states because it was based on a filibuster, undertaken by virginians as opposed to the new yorker, aaron ber are ar and hi
ademocr attempt. the lone star flag of the west virginia -- west florida public later morphed into the better known texas flag. and madison was completely on board with this. he wasn't opposed to it. he was, like, we'll take advantage of this. while history is privilege, the role of the younger war hawks in congress, theirs is only part of one story. albert galatin of pennsylvania, madison and jefferson's long time secretary of the treasury, wrote the following on the eve of madison's assumption of the presidency, mr. madison is as i always knew him slow in taking his ground, but firm when the storm arises. >> in his first inaugural address, march 1809, madison made sure everyone knew that he considered his election to have come at a critical historical moment. he was the first u.s. president
to use the inaugural address for this purpose, the first to move beyond generalities. he was absent of political bromides, absent of platitudes. strong and direct. america faced, he said, global challenges without a parallel in history. he wanted no part of europe's bloody and wasteful wars. and that was jeffersonian language too. but he demanded of the smug power that was great britain one thing, the rights of neutrals. of course we all know what happened before his first term had ended, the u.s. declared war on britain, a war it was ill equipped to fund. also of critical interest to us as we attempt to get a clearer picture of the real madison, and
what drove him, was a reference in that first inaugural address to the constitution as the cement of the union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities. he was promising to adhere to the same principle he demanded of the hamiltonians in the 1790s when madison's party was in the minority and both houses of congress and excluded from executive decision-making. he promised to continue republican measures, economy in public expenditures, keeping the standing army within the requisite limits and demoting state militias as the firmest bulwark of republics. but that interpretation of the constitution constrained from a -- from moving america in the direction of a permanently centralized military.
that interpretation of an america constrained from building up a war chest, that government was supplanted by another. it had to be if continental expansionism that jefferson and madison both saw as ultimately desirable was to take place. so madison had to learn on the job. in delivering the second inaugural address in march 1813, in the midst of the war, which the government was then struggling to fund, he sang a different tune. now if you listen to his language, he was referring to the rapid development of our national faculties in support of unavoidable war. when the public voice called for war, he reminded, all new and
still know that the effort had to be paid for which required the patriotism, the good sense, and the manly spirit, can't get anywhere without manly spirit. the manly spirit of our fellow citizens in bearing each his share of the common burden. he said to render the war short and its success sure, animate it and systematic exertions alone are necessary. precisely one year earlier, treasury secretary galatin had informed the president we have hardly enough money to last until the end of the month. future military operations would be threatened. when republicans in congress rejected madison's proposal for direct taxes, galatin sought private investment approaching new york millionaire fur trader john jacob aster and
philadelphia banker steven girouard the sort of spi speculatorers madison called gamblers in the early 1790s, he approached them, galatin did, after aster told him that the administration needed to charter a new bank of the united states and to borrow from the bank to finance the war. and so madison as president reconstituted the bank he had earlier associated with hamilton's cronyism. he had come to accept the principle that government could not engage in a major war without politics voting to raise taxes on the people who voted them in or out of office. this is a conundrum the 21st century understands. peace negotiations got under way in europe with madison's full
support. he needed albert galatin as his linchpin on the negotiating team in gent. british ships had appeared at the mouth of the potomac as early as july 1813, and raids along the chesapeake caused a nervous congress to look less favorably on an internal revenue solution. the fiery decimation of the white house, the capital, you know, august 1814 only intensified the need to reorder republican priorities and accommodate president madison's turnabout in favoring tax increases and a national bank that secured a uniform currency and maintained people's confidence in government during peace time as well as war. he had quietly succeeded in rendering hamilton's purportedly unconstitutional bank safe. a bank compromised of private merchants and stock jobing
speculat speculators. this was no longer of concern to lovers of the republican form of government. the second bank as reconstituted under madison would not place the constitutional separation of powers in jeopardy. the people could rest easier. at least those for whom the constitution was a living thing. >> the burning of washington tells us something important about the state of the union in 1814. one massachusetts newspaper ran a satirical headline, the president lost. the story was about how madison had gone missing since the battle of bladensburg and contended and here i quote, he does not even know where he is himself entirely lost and bewildered. in other words, the president hadn't just lost washington, he had lost his mind. so if you think politics is bad
today, it isn't any better. now, we have to -- i think several of the presenters have returned to this question, does the burning of washington turn madison into a failed president? a simple sound bite would fly today. but it misses the larger historical context. the british torched the capital to humiliate the president and actually to humiliate more than one president in reducing washington, the city, they were symbolically reducing washington the general who reduced lord corn wallace at york town 30 years before. you should read british newspapers, they rallied because they fqxçyresented american politicians chest thumping and macho posturing. they thought of america as an undisciplined adolescent who needed a good drubbing. and what we have to remember is that the war itself reflected
the nation's conflicted interests. i already referred to the idea of the filibuster are oregon the idea of a war initiated by westerners, which was a frontier war against native americans in a desire to obtain land from canada and from the northeast and that's what inspired westerners, but there was another war this is the war that madison cared about, which was finding a way to redefine english power on the high seas. it was a tough thing to connect those things and present them as a unified script on what the war stood for. the burning of washington did not symbolize the death of the republic or close to it. because washington city itself did not symbolize the united states to all americans in the way we might think of the federal government today. it was in 1814 as madison acknowledged in 1788 when he wrote jefferson about his
disappointment with the federal constitution. he called the new government system a feudal system of republics. feudal system of republics. and what he imagined was going to happen in the united states is there would emerge multiple state alliances or sectional and regional divisions that would undermine the spirit of the union. and that is a consistent condition of the united states from the time of the constitution, of course, until the civil war. and i would say it still exists today, living in louisiana. and that much reflected the reality of the state of the union in 1814. there was a new england coalition, one that almost seceded from the union, a western coalition that many feared would separate from the union during aaron berr's failed filibuster movement a few years
earlier. the middle states, new york, pennsylvania, maryland with port cities invested in international trade, had maintained a loose affiliation with the virginia dominated republican party. bound together by a commercial notion of democracy. by 1814, their leaders, in the middle states, had grown tired of the virginia dynasty. meanwhile, the new england inspired northwest vied with southern accented coalition of indiana, kentucky and tennessee. and this south itself was less united than imagined. south carolinians had a much greater investment in large scale plantation slavery than virginia did. saddam hussein in fact wanted to reopen the slave trade abolished in 1808. americans in 1814 didn't see washington as the only embodiment of the republic. westerners had far more at stake in protecting mississippi. their trade artery, which explains why andrew jackson's victory in new orleans took on
special meaning for them. new englanders rallied around victories in the atlantic as when the uss constitution sank a british warship, 750 miles east of boston. and by the close of the war, and this is -- this was alluded to by ken bowling, americans were even divided about what to do after they went back to washington and had to deal with the ashes. and the remains of the city. in 1816, congress failed in its attempt to increase the wages of national representatives. first the legislation was passed, but then fully half of the 14th congress were either voted out of office or failed to get nominated for re-election. and the law was promptly rescinded. this statement was a reaction in part against the war hawks who had pushed for a war.
and as we know, it took 13 years to rebuild a capital, and as was mentioned in 1814, swampy washington was almost abandoned all together in favor of philadelphia. how then should we remember madison as a political actor. more than a constitutionalist, he altered the course of history in many ways and jefferson's cabinet, where -- this is the other thing we forget about madison is how he pretty much was not only equal to jefferson in political influence, but stage managed jefferson's political career from 1782 when he persuaded him not to retire from politics after the death of his wife. in 1796, he convinced jefferson to run for president against john adams. when jefferson was urging madison to do so. and jefferson took few actions as president without first
profiting from madison's advice. and this is what we keep stressing. that madison's theories about the constitution, theories about a government, evolved due to the other experiences that he had, in the legislature, in the cabinet, as president. and in fact what we -- when we look at madison's thinking, he was someone who liked to solve real world problems. and sometimes a very more gradual manner than people would like, but a practical manner. he was much more willing to change gears than someone like jefferson was. and this in a sense is a good thing, he was adaptable. the other thing that we tend to forget about is that madison's style was very different. we, today, think that great president has to show his leadership and pretend he's a big man. well, madison was not. but that was actually very soothing to a lot of people in
1814. they saw him as exercising influence without outward ambition. as a legislator, he saw in following and taking great -- paying great attention to details, and the details of how people behaved. and collecting that knowledge, collecting that information is how he was able to persuade people. it wasn't through his rhetoric. and he had incredible experience. he was in the virginia assembly. he went to the confederation congress, the constitutional convention, the first congress of the united states, and then at the end of the united states he was a ra have state constitutional convention. few had this kind of experience. throughout his career, his was the art of quiet persuasion rather than the art of eloquence and cap the vacation. he analyzed the political conditions and adapted his view